Important figures of history sometimes get pushed to the periphery as current figures take center stage. One such figure is Katharina von Bora, a renegade nun whose birth took place more than five hundred years ago this week. If the name is familiar at all, it may be because she was the wife of Martin Luther, who in 1517 posted on the door of his church 95 Theses (disputations), an act of defiance that set in motion the Protestant Reformation.
It’s possible others find both Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther to be unfamiliar names. Unfortunately, the Protestant Reformation no longer receives a great deal of attention in most history classes. (And Luther’s name often evokes a well-known 20th century figure, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., causing a measure of confusion.)
I love the picture (above) of von Bora. This portrait was painted by a close friend of their family, a German Renaissance painter who also painted a portrait of Martin Luther. In this picture, I see a resemblance to The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies. To me, the portrait depicts a beautiful woman, a no-nonsense presence who possesses quiet, bridled strength of character and soul. Continue Reading →